Judge Nolan said Mark Byrne (47) was a ‘mature man and should have known better’
Mark Byrne (47) pleaded guilty to possessing the cannabis for sale or supply at Watermill Drive, Raheny, Dublin 5 on February 22, 2021.
He further admitted possessing €3,500 in cash as the proceeds of crime and possessing a Nokia mobile phone for the purpose of facilitating a drug trafficking offence at Springdale Road, Raheny on the same date.
Passing sentence on Wednesday at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Martin Nolan said Byrne has no criminal record and is “highly unlikely” to come before the courts again.
“I can accept he was desperate for some financial help, but he’s a mature man and should have known better than to involve himself in this criminal behaviour; he made a huge misjudgement,” said Judge Nolan.
The judge noted that Byrne, with an address at Richmond Park, Monkstown, Co Dublin, has a very good work history and had been a taxi-driver for 20 years.
Fiona Murphy SC, defending Byrne, said there was no question that Byrne possessed any of the trappings of wealth and that he has now lost his livelihood as his taxi licence has been revoked.
Ms Murphy said Byrne had had very serious financial concerns and that his family had been really struggling to make ends meet, so he felt he had no option.
Counsel said Byrne was “clearly somebody who was used by somebody more sinister” and cited a psychological report saying he was easily manipulated and suffered from severe anxiety and depression.
Ms Murphy said Byrne has a very supportive and hard-working family and that he is very conscious of the damage he has caused.
The court heard that Byrne was paid €3,500 as compensation or reward for transporting the drugs.
Judge Nolan sentenced Byrne to three years in prison.